VivaKi Nerve Center CEO Hecht Says Addressable Media Buying To Ramp As Fast As Search

VivaKiPublicis’ VivaKi Nerve Center CEO Curt Hecht recently discussed Vivaki Nerve Center (VNC) momentum and the renewal of VNC’s agreement with Google as reported by The New York Times here last week. What exactly is the agreement VivaKi Nerve Center (VNC) which just renewed with Google? Are there guaranteed minimum spends by VNC, for example?

CH: In 2008 when we launched VivaKi, we made our Audience on Demand initiative the cornerstone or our Nerve Center operation to show what could be done when data and technology come together in the media marketplace. We were early to work with Google and DoubleClick on the first iteration of AdX and believed together that exchange based buying would be significant to the industry moving forward. It was a vision and a concept, but both organizations felt that it was a specific area we could focus and drive a measurable difference together. At (Google) Zeitgeist this year in Arizona, we realized we were on pace to run 4.000 campaigns and 100+ clients, and were looking to push the boundaries again. So we agreed with Neal Mohan to extend to mobile and video since we share a common vision around addressable media on any screen or device. This is the basis of the partnership and of course the continued expansion in graphical display.

Spend is entirely driven by client performance in the addressable channels. Either it performs or doesn’t, just like search.

Is the work you’ve done with the Pool incorporated into this agreement somehow?

You Tube is a Pool partner for VivaKi, we have not discussed ad formats for our renewal. Anything is possible, but it’s too early to determine messaging.

What video and mobile formats will be available through VNC? Will VNC be able to access third-party data for these formats?

Everything is in development as we speak, but we plan to start with online video. We all know Google operates You Tube and has strong relationships with publishers on the display side, but we are not sharing specifics at this point. Also, since your question is broader than Google, the Nerve Center will actively look to scale ASq and currently has great partnerships with companies like TidalTV, Panache, Visible Measures and VINDICO, all of which are part of the Rising Tide Co-Op and offer us opportunities in video beyond exchange-based trading.

Could you shed any light on the day-to-day working relationship with Invite Media today as well as the growth of the VNC team? Are members of the IM team integrated into VNC teams, for example?

Last year we had less than 10 people in this area, today we have more than 50 on the Audience on Demand team. We are also expanding in UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, India and China. We have been working with Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg from the Invite Media team since early 2009 when they were starting out. We were with them this week reviewing our progress together in Mountain View and we have a very close relationship, not dissimilar from the one we had with Neal Mohan and Sean Downey prior to Google buying DoubleClick. Much of what makes our partnership work is culturally between our companies and teams and the desire to lead the market. It’s a powerful combination when we are empowered by our management.

Can you share any sense of momentum for VNC advertising through Invite Media today?

As mentioned above, we are at 4,000+ campaigns, 100+ clients and now operating in UK and the US and expect expansion in Western Europe and Australia in the coming months. Addressable media buying is going to scale as rapidly as search and we suspect the size of the numbers in spending, staffing requirements at media companies and agencies will continue to create pressure on the business. We feel we were in front of the trend and have our organization prepared and identified the right partners as we enter 2011.

By John Ebbert

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